Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Oceanaire before Minneapolis Super Bowl LII

Well, I don't have a great record of posting in a timely manner, so I might as well post this even though it is over a month late. Downtown was taken over by the Super Bowl in early February. Traffic was terrible with all of the closed streets and I had a couple awful commutes home. But, it was interesting to watch the setup, all the activities and events and tear down of everything. I did not spot any celebrities either. Boo!
Nicollet Mall setup for festivities 
Sports center in IDS crystal court
The Friday before the big game we managed to secure reservations at Oceanaire. Turns out they added reservations by seating the bar tables and also put people at outdoor patio tables in the office building's atrium. We were at a table in the bar, so at least we were inside the restaurant.

The food and service were great, as always. 
After dinner, we wandered down Nicollet Mall and went to the Local. Nicollet Mall wasn't terrible to navigate as there wasn't a band on stage. The Local was overrun with Eagles fans and packed to the gills. We had one drink and grabbed an Uber home. It was quick and easy and the cheapest Uber ever. Seems they had a ton of extra drivers working all week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Hop Cat

John had I went downtown to check out the new location of the Hop Cat in downtown Minneapolis on a recent Sunday afternoon. We have been to the location in Madison with Megan and Jason and we were excited to see one pop up in Minneapolis. They have a great tap beer list with tons of choices.

John had the angry bird sandwich with fries.  It is a crispy breaded chicken breast tossed in fire sauce on a toasted brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and blue cheese dressing, though he substituted ranch for the blue cheese. He really liked the sandwich and said it was spicy, but not overly so.

We also ordered some crack fries, which are beer battered fries sprinkled with our signature cracked black pepper seasoning. Served with a side of warm cheese sauce for dipping. The fries are ok, but I don't think they are deserving of the name crack fries, but I don't care for a breaded french fry very much. For a breaded fry these are not bad though.

I had the quesadilla with pico-marinated chicken, chipotle black bean dip, shredded house blend cheese and spinach grilled in a cheddar tortilla. Served with salsa and sour cream. These were decent quesadillas and the portion was generous.

The service was fine, but I think our server was sent home after we were seated, so we had all of the other servers stopping by to check on us, which was fine, but they tended to ask the same questions repeatedly. Guess too much service is better than none at all.

We found the food to be pretty good for a sports bar setting and the extensive beer list is certainly the highlight and worth the special trip to downtown Minneapolis.

Hop Cat
435 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: (612) 276-5555

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Stephanie and I went out recently for dinner and we checked out Borough in the North Loop area of Minneapolis. We had a reservation and were seated promptly on arrival. The room is very cool in an old warehouse with lots of old wood floors and exposed brick.

The Not far from the tree cocktail with apple-infused square one botanical vodka, leopold cranberry liqueur, dolin blanc, earl giles vanilla bean, bitter truth lemon bitters. This was a great winter drink.
We started with tuna carpaccio with kalamata olive, pickled mustard, pepper, chive and rye crisp. The portion was tiny, but the fish tasted fresh and the items served with it were an interesting contrast.
Next, the pork belly with pear, red wine, pie crust, allspice and chive. The pork belly was perfectly grilled and very delicious.
My entree was the scallops with red wine risotto, leek, root vegetable, grapes, elderflower and salsify. The scallops were nicely seared, but I did not care for the red wine risotto.
Stephanie had the beef flat iron with mole, smoked tamale and pickled red onion. She said it was rather salty, but the meat was cooked as requested.
We finished with the smores dessert with smoked chocolate cream, burnt white chocolate, pickled blackberries and fluff. This was much better than it looked. It was basically a deconstructed and elevated version of smores.

Our service was good, little slow at times though. Overall, the starters and the dessert were the highlight of our meal and the entrees were just average. I think it would be worth going back for the happy hour and the burger, but I'm not sure the entrees are the draw.

730 N Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: (612) 354-3135

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Benedict's Wayzata

Benedict's is a brunch only place that opened in late 2017 in Wayzata. Considering how close by it is, I have not heard much about it.

John had the standard, which is two eggs with bacon, potatoes and toast. It was your basic breakfast. Not bad.

I had the egg sandwich, topped with egg, sausage, harissa, cheese and bacon jam. The sausage was ok, the English muffin was very light and fluffy and the bacon jam really made the sandwich. The hash browns had scallions mixed in to give it addition flavor and the potatoes were very finely shredded. I quite liked the hash browns.

The food was quite good, but it took quite some time to arrive and our server was either too busy or rather slow. We waited for beverage refills a few times and it took a very long time for the check to be delivered. So I guess the not great service may explain why I haven't heard great things about Benedict's. Hopefully, things improve with time.

845 Lake St E
Wayzata, MN 55391
Phone: (952) 923-1903

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Red Rabbit brunch

John signed up for Red Rabbit's eClub recently, so we visited for Saturday brunch. You get a coupon for $10 off upon joining. We arrived just prior to noon and were seated right away. It did fill up quite a bit more by the time we departed. I guess North Loop brunches late.

I had the ham and cheese with grilled ham, mushrooms, arugula and triple creme, with grilled bread and a waffle hash brown. The waffle hash brown is just what it sounds like and it was a great combination of crispy and softer bits of potato. The grilled bread was excellent as it had a bit of smoky flavor.
John hasn't stopped raving about how good this waffle was. I'm told the waffle was very light and fluffy and the berries were fresh with great flavor. He added a side order of bacon as well. The bacon was thick cut and had nice smoky flavor. I was granted a small bite, but the waffle was gone before I got a nibble.

The service was helpful and attentive once more and the food was amazing. John has been talking about how good the waffle was ever since, so I am sure we will be going back very soon.

Brunch is available Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 2pm.

Red Rabbit
201 N Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: (612) 767-8

Friday, February 9, 2018

Eggy's DIner

We had noticed Eggy's Diner when we went down to Lakes and Legend's brewing, and I noticed it was also in our Metro Dining Club punch card deals, so we gave it a try for breakfast recently. It is down near Loring Park, but it should be noted that they do validate parking in the attached parking ramp, so it is easy to visit. Apparently, there is another location of Eggy's somewhere in Chicago, so it is a very small chain.

We arrived fairly early for brunch on a Sunday morning and were seated promptly. We had a bit of a wait before the server realized we were her table, but after that the service was ok.

I had Eggy's breakfast sandwich topped with 2 eggs over medium, bacon, mixed greens, red onion jam and herb aioli on a toasted bun. It was messy with the over medium eggs, but very tasty. The onion jam was delicious.
John had the two eggs with meat of bacon, egg whites, breakfast potatoes and a pancake. The breakfast potatoes are whole mini potatoes that are deep fried. They were good with crispy bits and fluffy soft bits and even better with some hot sauce added.
John liked the pancake, it was quite large and very light and fluffy.

With the discount form the Metro Dining Club, this was a very affordable breakfast. The service and food quality was good and I think I'd like to try a few more items on the menu. The food, along with the validated parking in the attached ramp, makes it easy to get to, which is sometimes a challenge in Minneapolis.

Eggy's Diner
120 W 14th St
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: (763) 310-3449

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Portillo's Maple Grove

I was fortunate enough to notice an email to Portillo's for a preview meal the week before their opening to the public. I snagged a time that worked for us and got confirmation via email and regular mail. The meal was free with a donation to a local charity.

We arrived to a packed parking lot and a line out the door, but the line moved very quickly. They had people writing the orders down so once you got to the register, the order just had to be input. The food took about 10 minutes to be ready, but by then I had managed to find a place to sit.

The food is not particularly photogenic, but it tasted a lot better than it looked. I had the Italian beef sandwich with cheese and hot peppers added. The cheese was shredded cheddar and a little sparse. The peppers really added flavor to the sandwich and I did ask it to be dipped in gravy. IT made the bun soggy, but added more flavor. The beef was tender, but didn't have a ton of flavor. I also had cheese fires that come with a small container of melted cheese, which tasted better than it looked. The crinkle fries were were good though.
John had the Maxwell Street Polish sausage topped with grilled onions. He said it looked a little burnt, but it tasted like the one he had in Chicago last time we visited. It is a spicier sausage.

Overall, the visit went much better than I expected. The service was fast, friendly and professional. They should be ready for the hordes to descend when they open to the public! We look forward to going back regularly.

12251 Elm Creek Blvd N
Maple Grove, MN 55369
Phone: (763) 316-0860

Friday, February 2, 2018

Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge

I found a Groupon awhile ago for Fletcher's and we thought we'd give it a try since we've never tried the more formal main dining room. We visited on a showy evening and it wasn't too busy, but not empty either.
I tried the walleye dinner served with chef’s vegetable of broccoli and au gratin potatoes. The walleye was breaded, pan fried and topped with toasted almonds. The walleye was quite good, as was the au gratin potatoes. The broccoli had a lot of peppers mixed in, which I didn't care for.
John had the beef fried rice bowl topped with 4 oz teres major. He said the rice was pretty salty, but the steak was prepared as requested.

The food overall was average, but we did find the service to be very attentive throughout our meal. I'm not sure we were impressed enough to go back again anytime soon though, even with the deal from Groupon covering most of the meal.

Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge
3746 Sunset Dr
Spring Park, MN 55384
Phone:  (952) 471-8513

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Burch Steak

We went back to Burch steak for our annual holiday dinner. I don't think we'd made it back since we went for our anniversary a couple years ago. We had a reservation and were seated promptly.

We started with the seared scallops with lemongrass aioli. They were nicely seared and the aioli added a bright, fresh flavor.
The marlin crudo with coconut, cilantro and chili oil was very fresh and light. We both loved the and would order it again.
The first of our sides was the roasted carrots with thyme and chèvre. These reminded me of the carrots at Bar la Grassa and were very flavorful and delicious.
At the recommendation of our server for a potato we went with the pommes purée with poutine and horseradish. The potatoes were actually quite mild and did not have strong horseradish flavor.
For our steak, we tried the grass fed Manhattan cut steak. It looked a bit overdone at first glance, but was prepared correctly once we cut into it. The meat was tender, but a little dry. I don't think we'd go with the cut again.

We enjoyed our meal a lot and found the service to be great throughout our visit. We really need to go back and try the pizza from the bar in the basement bar area. I guess we tend to forget about Burch as it is on the edges of Uptown, but not quite downtown. It is definitely worth the trip!

Burch Steak
1933 Colfax Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 843-1515

Thursday, January 18, 2018


I seriously thought we’ve talked about Kincaid’s before. We’ve been to the one in Bloomington, but apparently it has been a long time before I was keeping track. Anyway, we visited with friends before a concert in St Paul recently and really enjoyed the meal.

I had made a reservation some time in advance and had no trouble getting in. We had a great table in an alcove toward the back, so if we were loud at all, we did not disturb anyone. The restaurant was quite busy, but not overly so, and we were seated as soon as we arrived.

I had the scallops seared with asiago and risotto in the center of the plate. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the risotto was excellent.

John had the ahi tuna with coconut crust served on rice. Both entrees were very good. All of the food came out in a timely manner even though they were quite busy.

The service was great and we had plenty of time to settle up the bill and make it to our show with plenty of time to spare.

380 St Peter St
St Paul, MN 55102
Phone: (651) 602-9000